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Invasive Species Resources

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USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has analyzed the potential environmental effects of establishing an integrated management strategy to control cogongrass in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina. The draft environmental assessment is now available for comment. Cogongrass is an invasive exotic grass found on public and private property, along roadways, in forests, and on farmland. This federally regulated noxious weed grows rapidly, reducing forest productivity, harming wildlife habitat and ecosystems, and encroaching on pastures and hayfields. Because of cogongrass' impact on agriculture and forest industries, Congress has given APHIS funding to partner with Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina to control the spread of this weed. APHIS is proposing is an integrated management strategy that uses preventive, cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical methods to control cogongrass in key areas of its distribution. APHIS invites the public to review and comment on this environmental assessment by April 1, 2020.

UNFAO. Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
An insect that can infest and damage hundreds of hectares of maize fields, literally overnight, is sweeping across Asia – alarming smallholder farmers and threatening livelihoods – but the damage can be limited, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported today. Fall Armyworm is native to the Americas. However, since 2016 it has been aggressively moving ever eastwards, sweeping across Africa, and making landfall for the first time in Asia last summer. Fall Armyworm (FAW) was first detected in India in July 2018 and by January of this year, it had spread to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and China’s Yunnan Province.
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
In May of 2018, the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa confirmed the finding of the Haemaphysalis longicornis tick (otherwise known as the East Asian or Longhorned tick) in Virginia. It was previously unknown in the state, but since then has been detected in 24 counties, mostly in the western part of the state. "The tiny tick can appear on cows, horses and other livestock," said State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Broaddus. "In addition to being a nuisance, they also can be a health risk, especially to newborn or young animals." If you believe you have found the Longhorned tick, notify your local office of the Cooperative Extension Service.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is conducting an immediate response to the capture of 51 invasive carp on the Mississippi River. The invasive carp were caught by two commercial fishing operators near La Crosse and Trempealeau, Wisconsin, during routine spring netting last weekend. In response to this discovery, the DNR is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Wisconsin DNR and commercial fishing operators to conduct large-scale netting, studies of the captured carp and increased monitoring. "The location where these fish were caught is commonly netted because of concentrations of commercially valuable fish," said DNR invasive carp field lead Ben Larson. "This is the largest congregation of invasive carp we've seen this far upstream." Invasive carp have been progressing upstream since escaping into the Mississippi River in Arkansas in the 1970s. These large fish compete with native species and pose a threat to rivers and lakes.

Invasive carp captures must be reported to the DNR immediately. Call 651-587-2781 or email invasivecarp.dnr@state.mn.us. Take a photo and transport the carp to the nearest DNR fisheries office or make arrangements for it to be picked up by a DNR official. More information about invasive carp is available on the Minnesota DNR website.

New Prevention Topics

USDA. NAL. National Invasive Species Information Center.

Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Programs - Many Western states instituted watercraft inspection and decontamination programs after the discovery of invasive mussels in Lake Mead in 2007. This section provides resources on mandated watercraft inspection and decontamination programs, as well as some non-mandated but state-funded watercraft inspection efforts.

Aquatic Invasive Species Decals - Some U.S. states require that boaters purchase an aquatic invasive species decal (sometimes called a stamp, sticker, or permit) before operating watercraft in that state. Many of these regulations were instituted as a response to the spread of zebra and quagga mussels into the Western U.S. Fees from the purchase of these decals are typically used to fund local aquatic invasive species outreach and prevention activities.

Great Lakes Commission.
Aquatic invasive species inflict millions of dollars of ecological and economic damage to the Great Lakes, with impacts on coastal industries, water quality, native fish and wildlife and human health. Recently, Blue Accounting, in partnership with state and federal agencies, launched a new suite of web-based resources and tools to support early detection of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes. The earlier new aquatic invasive species are detected, the easier and less expensive it is to avoid potentially devastating consequences of a large invasion. The new tools released by the Blue Accounting initiative help target efforts to focus on high-risk species and locations across the 11,000 miles of shoreline and 94,000 miles of surface area that make up the Great Lakes basin.
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) established a Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine for Frederick County and the city of Winchester, effective immediately. The purpose of the quarantine is to slow the spread of the spotted lanternfly to uninfested areas of the Commonwealth. Early detection is vital for the management of any newly introduced plant pest. For more information on Spotted Lanternfly in Virginia, see: Plant Industry Services (scroll to SLF section).

The spotted lanternfly was first detected in Winchester in January 2018. Subsequent surveys conducted by VDACS indicate that the pest has become established in the city of Winchester and spread into Frederick County, just north of Winchester. Prior to the January 2018 detection in Virginia, the only Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) found in the U.S. was in Pennsylvania. Populations are now established in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and northern Virginia.

Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission today reported that populations of the invasive, parasitic sea lamprey remain at near-historic lows, below targets, in Lakes Michigan and Ontario, and above target, but holding steady, in Lakes Huron, Superior and Erie. Sea lamprey populations in Lake Huron are close to target levels and have been holding steady for the past five years. Abundances in Lakes Superior and Erie remain above target but have also decreased significantly since the near-record highs observed in 2017. Sea lampreys are the worst of the alien species to invade the Great Lakes. Before control, sea lampreys destroyed many times the human fish catch. Today, sea lamprey control is the foundation of the $7 billion Great Lakes fishery. The Commission and its partners are encouraged by the overall decrease in abundance of sea lampreys throughout the Great Lakes basin during 2019, but caution that environmental conditions, such as a prolonged spring and high precipitation events, contributed to the decrease.

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) announced today that a single dead specimen of the invasive pest known as spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) was reported and confirmed at a private residence in Boston. As a result, MDAR is urging the public to check for signs of spotted lanternfly adults in any potted plants that they may have received over the holiday season and to report any potential sightings of this pest on MDAR's online reporting form by taking photographs and collecting a specimen if possible. Residents should look for large, gray insects, about one inch long, with black spots and red underwings.

University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The U.S. Department of the Interior has renewed its support for the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (NE CASC) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a five-year, $4.5 million commitment as the host campus for its six-member consortium of universities, says center co-director professor Richard Palmer. Scientists affiliated with the center provide federal, state and other agencies with region-specific results of targeted research on the effects of climate change on ecosystems, wildlife, water and other resources. The new agreement continues Interior’s original seven-year, $11 million grant to the NE CASC at UMass Amherst that began in 2011. One of the web-based tools created by the NE CASC is the Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change (RISCC) Management project, which helps invasive species managers through working groups, information-sharing and targeted research.

USDA. National Institute of Food and Agriculture; University of New Hampshire.
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found a dramatic decline of 14 wild bee species that are, among other things, important across the Northeast for the pollination of major local crops like apples, blueberries and cranberries.

“We know that wild bees are greatly at risk and not doing well worldwide,” said Sandra Rehan, assistant professor of biological sciences. “This status assessment of wild bees shines a light on the exact species in decline, beside the well-documented bumble bees. Because these species are major players in crop pollination, it raises concerns about compromising the production of key crops and the food supply in general.”

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing its plans for combatting the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio in 2020. "Just last year we declared eradication of ALB from Brooklyn and Queens in New York City, ending the city's 23-year-long battle with the beetle," said Osama El-Lissy, APHIS' Plant Protection and Quarantine Deputy Administrator. "This year, we've mapped out a sound strategy that will further our efforts to eliminate this pest from the remaining areas of this country where it still has a foothold."

Every year, APHIS evaluates and determines the most effective options to achieve ALB eradication. In 2020, the ALB program will focus on inspecting trees in quarantined areas in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio, and removing infested trees at no cost to property owners. The program will not apply insecticide treatments this year. In addition, program officials will monitor for the beetle’s presence inside and around each area, respond to service calls, conduct training sessions for compliance agreement holders, and perform outreach.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of virulent Newcastle disease in a small flock of backyard exhibition chickens in Utah County, Utah. This is the first case of virulent Newcastle disease in Utah. This case is believed to be connected to the current outbreak of virulent Newcastle disease in California, as three of the birds at the premises were recently moved to Utah from Los Angeles County, California. Since May 2018, 299 cases of Newcastle disease have been confirmed in Southern California, primarily in backyard exhibition birds.

Virulent Newcastle disease is not a food safety concern. No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products.

United States Senate. Mark R. Warner.

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $1,549,891 in federal funding for the University of Virginia (UVA) and Virginia Tech to improve resources for the U.S. agricultural industry and rural communities. This funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Food and Agriculture Cyberinformatics and Tools (FACT) Initiative, which focuses on data-driven solutions to address problems facing the agricultural industry. Funding includes $499,952 for the University of Virginia to better understand America's agricultural commodity flows and their role in the spread of invasive species, which is important for food security and economic stability. This project will help provide policy makers with guidance to better address vulnerabilities in food systems.

eXtension.

If a fire ant colony is flooded during a rainstorm or other high-water situation, the ants cling together and form a living raft that floats on the flood waters. Once the raft hits dry ground or a tree, rock, or other dry object, the ants can leave the water.

Footage Shows Massive Colonies of Fire Ants Floating in Hurricane Florence Floodwaters (Sep 18, 2018)
AOL News.
Floodwaters will not drown fire ants. In the wake of Hurricane Florence, victims in the storm's path are being warned to avoid wading through dangerous floodwaters (in addition to other reasons and threats).